Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caramel Apple Banana Cheesecake

Terry, one of Walter's co-workers had a birthday. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, and he gave me a recipe for a caramel apple cheesecake. Then, he asked if I could add bananas. As you all probably know, I have a bad track record with cheesecakes. However, I gave it a shot, and it turned out great!

Caramel Apple Banana Cheesecake

Terry found the recipe here at Razzle Dazzle Recipes. It was actually surprisingly easy for a cheesecake, and it was apparently very good. I wanted to get a picture of it cut, but I did not. I was told that it was very sweet, which surprises me absolutely none. I added bananas to the recipe per his request, which I am sure only added to the sweetness.

-24 cinnamon graham crackers
-10 Tablespoons butter, melted
-1 cup sugar, divided
-1 21-ounce can apple fruit filling
-2 bananas, sliced thin
-16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup caramel topping
-2 Tablespoons chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make crust, crush graham crackers and combine with butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix until combined and press into 9-inch greased springform pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
3. Measure 1/2 cup of apple pie filling and set aside. Spoon remaining filling into crust. Layer 1/2 of bananas on top of filling
4. Beat together cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add eggs and beat well. Pour over apple filling.
5. Bake 35 minutes or until center is nearly set. Cool.
6. Mix reserved apple filling and caramel topping in a small saucepan. Heat about 1 minute.
7. Arrange apple banana slices and around outside edge of cheesecake. Spoon caramel sauce onto the cheesecake and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Banana and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake Bites

I had leftover cake after Father's Day, as always. I found some peanut butter flavored Wilton candy melts, so I decided to dip the chocolate chip cake in those. I also ground some chocolate chips up and threw them in with the cake and frosting because the cake I had leftover didn't really have any chocolate chips in it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake Bites

I thought the peanut butter was a great addition to these. They were wonderful.

-1 recipe Chocolate Chip Cake
-1/2 cup vanilla cream
-Witon's Candy Melts, peanut butter flavor
-6 ounces ground chocolate chips

1. Crumble prepared cake into crumbs. Mix in vanilla cream and chocolate chips until well combined.
2. Roll cake mixture into small balls. Dip in melted peanut butter candy and cool on wax paper. Drizzle with additional chocolate if desired.

Banana Cake Bites

These were my favorite. I considered dipping them in peanut butter as well, but I only bought one bag and used it all on the others.

-1 recipe Banana Cake
-1/2 cup vanilla cream
-Wilton's candy melts light cocoa and white

1. Crumble prepared cake into crumbs. Mix in vanilla cream until well combined.
2. Roll cake mixture into small balls. Dip in melted chocolate or white chocolate and cool on wax paper. Drizzle with additional chocolate if desired.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WC Nesties Summer Exchange

My items arrived! My secret Elfster nestie was jennal78, and she did a fantastic job!

She sent me the 2009 Wilton's Cake Decorating Yearbook, three packages of fun cupcake liners, an oven mitt (in my favorite color!), and a mix for a Key Lime Cheese Ball, which sounds delicious!

Thanks, jennal78! I can't wait until the fall exchange!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tiki Idol Cake

This cake was for my father. He collects tiki idols, and so this cake was born.

I liked this cake much better, aesthetically. It also tasted fantastic. It was a banana cake with vanilla cream filling, and there were sliced bananas and strawberries between each layer. It was covered and detailed with marshmallow fondant.

Banana Cake

This tasted like banana bread but with the fluffy cake texture. I found the recipe here at Cooks.com. I was very pleased with it. I also altered this one a small bit.

-1 1/4 cups sugar
-1/2 cup butter
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-4 tablespoons sour cream
-1 cup banana puree
-1 1/2 cups cake flour
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 4-ounce package banana cream instant pudding

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8-inch square pan and set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs.
3. Dissolve baking soda in sour cream and add to batter. Add remaining ingredients and beat well.
4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until pick inserted comes out clean.

Harley Davidson Cake

I made two cakes today. I think the quality of this one (which I made second) suffered because of it. But it's for my father-in-law, who has never seen one of my decorated cakes, so maybe he won't realize that it's not my best work. ;)

Father-in-law collects Harley Davidson memorabilia, so I decorated the cake accordingly.

I made a chocolate chip cake with a vanilla cream filling. I used marshmallow fondant for all of the details except the writing on the logo, which I did with Wilton's Icing Writers.

Chocolate Chip Cake

This cake tasted like a chocolate chip cookie. It was fabulous and incredibly moist. I did make a few changes, so I will write the recipe as adapted. The original recipe can be found here at Recipezaar.

-2 1/4 cup cake flour
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cups sour cream
-3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-3 eggs
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 12-ounce package chocolate chips
-2 additional teaspoons flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Combine first nine ingredients in large bowl and mix until smooth and well combined.
3. Combine cinnamon and additional flour in a small bag. Add chocolate chips and shake until they are coated. Fold into batter.
4. Pour batter into pans and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Vanilla Cream

This tasted just like vanilla ice cream! It was fantastic. This recipe makes about twice as much as was needed for this cake.

-2 cups heavy whipping cream
-2 cups powdered sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients and mix until thickened.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spritz Butter Cookies

I've had a cookie press for nearly a year. This is the first time I used it, but I LOVED it, so I think it will get much more use.

Spritz Butter Cookies

I found this recipe here at Allrecipes. The only real complaint I had is that it was nearly impossible to get the cookies off the sheet without breaking them unless they were actually below room temperature. So I stuck the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes before trying to remove them. I thought they were a little dull on their own, so I drizzled the cookies with white and milk chocolate. I also threw some chocolate cake bites in because I know how much Walter's co-workers love them.

-1 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup white sugar
-3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
-1 teaspoon almond extract
-3 cups cake flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
I also added melted chocolate and white chocolate.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add the beaten egg yolks and almond extract. Mix until well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually sift into the butter mixture and stir until well combined.
4. Chill dough for 1 to 3 hours, or until firm.
5. Using a cookie press, press out cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sunflower Cake

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday. Her favorite flower is the sunflower, so I used it for inspiration for her cake.

I am getting very comfortable working with fondant. I really enjoy it.

I didn't use any new recipes for this cake. The recipes I used are listed below.

Recipes Used

Easy Chocolate Party Cake--I added a 4-ounce box of instant chocolate pudding to the batter to make it more moist. It worked!
Chocolate Cream Filling--I also used this for the crumb coat.
Chocolate Fondant
Marshmallow Fondant

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stepford Sweets: Half-Life Groom's Cake

This was the first cake I did for my business, Stepford Sweets. I also included a small batch of chocolate cake bites. The customers loved the look of the cake and the cake bites, as well as the white chocolate details. They did say that the cake was a little dry, which I am taking into account and will remedy in the future. But overall, the bride and groom were both satisfied with the look and taste of the cake, so I definitely consider it a job well done.

Half-Life Groom's Cake

Half-Life is a post-apocalyptic video game. The bride suggested it for the groom's cake because the groom was playing the game in his dorm room the first time they met. Headcrabs are common monsters in the game, and the crowbar is a common weapon used by the main character.

I used this chocolate cake recipe, these recipes for chocolate fondant and chocolate buttercream, this recipe for the modeling chocolate headcrabs and crowbar, and this recipe for the marshmallow fondant (the orange detail on the cake). I used Wilton's Fondant Icing Writers mixed with orange food coloring for the writing on the cake. The filling of the cake was a self-created chocolate cream recipe (see below).

Chocolate Cream Filling

This was delicious and smooth. The recipe makes far more than required for filling the cake, but I definitely didn't complain.

-2 cups heavy whipping cream
-1 bag (about 20 squares) Hershey's Cacao Reserve Milk Chocolate Squares
-1/2 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup

1. Melt chocolate squares.
2. Combine all three ingredients and whip cream until smooth and fluffy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chocolate Amaretto Meringues

I do not like baked goods. Those of you who read my blog regularly know this by now. The only ones I really like are brownies. Well, I have just discovered another treat I love: Meringues. I had never had one before, but I nearly ate ALL of these. They are so amazing, and I want to try every meringue recipe in existence now. And eat all of them.

Chocolate Amaretto Meringues

Hey, look at that, a cookie recipe from Reader's Digest's Cookies: 1,001 Mouthwatering Recipes from around the World that actually worked out the way it was supposed to! These were originally called cinnamon meringues, but while the cinnamon definitely comes through, I think the almond extract comes through much more, as does the chocolate, so I changed the name. I like changing names of recipes. Walter likes for the name of the treat to very much describe how it tastes so people will know what they are getting at the office.

These are perfect. They were easy, delicious, and pretty. And delicious. I recommend them 1000% to anyone. I did have one problem: The recipe said to cook them for 50 to 60 minutes, but mine were done after about 30. I don't know if my sizing was off or what. Maybe my oven temperature is off--need to get an oven thermometer and check. However, it has never been off before, so I am not sure. The other meringue recipes in the book say 20-30 minutes, so I am not sure. I would say to check them after about 20 minutes, and if they are not done, leave them in there.

This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

-2 large egg whites
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy.
3. Switch mixer to high speed and gradually add sugar to egg whites, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
4. Fold in remaining three ingredients (I gave it a quick beating with the mixer to help combine the cocoa powder). Fit a pastry bag with a 1 1/2 inch star tip and fill pasty bag with batter.
5. Squeeze generous rosettes of batter about 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 50-60 minutes (Like I said, it only took 20-30 minutes for me) or until crisp and dry to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking. Cool completely on baking sheets.